STAKEHOLDERS identified corruption in the public sector as the reason for the rising cost of governance in Nigeria.
Stakeholders spoke on an anti-corruption radio show, Public Awareness, produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development (PRIMORG) in Abuja.
Transformative Governance Campaign Leader Jaye Gaskia has called on the government led by President Muhammadu Buhari to raise the bar in the fight against corruption by tackling the cost of governance.
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He noted that there is a crisis in the cost of governance in Nigeria.
Corruption has become a huge industry in the country, he said, as government revenue-generating agencies repeatedly failed to arbitrarily pour money into government coffers.
He also linked corruption to why Nigeria, an oil-producing country, cannot produce gasoline locally but continues to depend on imported refined products.
“Why are we the only OPEC country to import 90% of our refined products? It does not mean anything.
“Corruption has become a huge business and a huge industry. Several layers of politicians and government personnel profit from this corruption. It is not in their interest to do anything because they profit from it. Whether the country benefits or not makes no sense to them,” Gaskia lamented.
In the fight against corruption in the public sector, Gaskia said the government should start by redefining the purpose of governance and ensuring that its agencies are focused and operate with a clear purpose.
Also contributing to the programme, the editor of the online newspaper Fresh News, Desmond Utomwen, criticized the Nigerian Constitution, which endorses the mandatory representation of all states in the Federation in the Federal Executive Council (FEC), which, according to him, increases public spending and allows corruption.
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He said: “I think the Constitution is a catalyst for the high cost of governance and it is linked to corruption.
“Why do you need to have different ministries that don’t perform different tasks, and why do you also need to have certain parastatals that have similar functions, more or less like a duplication of responsibilities? Why do we even need to have 36 states? Because if you don’t have 36 states, you won’t need to create ministries that will accommodate 36 ministers,”
He called for a drastic reduction in the number of federal legislators or making the work of legislators less attractive in Nigeria.
“I am one of those who think that the number of legislators should be reduced. If possible, we should make it a part-time thing. For the executive, I am already against it because some governors have a thousand deputies. I don’t know why they need it.
“In the National Assembly we have 469 deputies, these deputies also have their deputies, of course they have to do their job, they have at least 3 deputies. However, do they have to work in the interest of the public? Yes, but do we need the numbers? We don’t,” Utomwen pointed out.
Public Conscience is a weekly anti-corruption radio program used by PRIMORG to draw the attention of government and citizens to corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria.
The program is supported by the MacArthur Foundation.
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